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Flannery Burke, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Courses Taught

World Environmental History since 1500 (undergraduate and graduate); History of the American West (undergraduate and graduate); North American Environmental History (undergraduate and graduate); Historian's Craft (undergraduate); U.S. Women's History (undergraduate); U.S. History since 1865 (undergraduate)


Doctor of Philosophy, History, University of Wisconsin-Madison, May 2002

Doctoral Minor, Cultural Studies, Havens Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, May 1998

Master of Arts, History, University of Wisconsin-Madison, December 1997

Bachelor of Arts, History, Magna Cum Laude, Bryn Mawr College, May 1994

Research Interests

As a westerner who went back East for my university education, Burke is fascinated by places and regions and how people think about them.  Like all environmental historians, she turns to nature as a source. Her investigations take her to the work of artists, writers, policy makers, and activists, but also to mesas, irrigation ditches, aspen forests and other sites that make up the western landscape.  She's deeply committed to sharing the long history of indigenous peoples and Spanish-speaking cultures of the American Southwest and incorporating that history into the regional, national, and global stories that historians tell.  

Her current book project, which she calls "Back East," ranges from the Midwest to the far West.  In it, she turns a common theme in the history of the American West on its head.  Instead of the "West of the imagination," the American West as easterners have viewed it, she's investigating the "East of the imagination," the American East as westerners have viewed it.  She chronicles how twentieth-century writers, public land advocates, politicians, and students built their careers and institutions in the West around an image of the East as cultured, urbane, moneyed, and powerful.  The project has taken her from the Kansas prairie to the Rocky Mountains; from Ken Kesey's Sometimes a Great Notion to Era Bell Thompson's American Daughter.  

Researching and writing "Back East" has been some of the most fun she's ever had, matched only by the work that she's done in history education with teachers across the United States and in Norway. 

Publications and Media Placements


A Land Apart: The Southwest and the Nation in the Twentieth Century, University of Arizona Press Modern American West Series, 2017 (Spur Award for Best Contemporary Non-Fiction from the Western Writers of America; Southwest Book Award from the Border Regional Library Association and finalist for the Weber Clements Book Prize from the Western History Association)

From Greenwich Village to Taos: Primitivism and Place at Mabel Dodge Luhan’s, University Press of Kansas, 2008  (Ralph Emerson Twitchell Award from the Historical Society of New Mexico)

Book Awards:

Ralph Emerson Twitchell Award, Historical Society of New Mexico

Finalist, New Mexico Book Prize, History Category, New Mexico

Book Co-op and the New Mexico Humanities Council

Articles and Essays


"Worry, USA: Dude Ranch Advertising Looks East," Montana: The Magazine of Western History, Summer 2019

 “The Arrogance of the East: How Westerners Created a Region” Western Historical Quarterly, Winter 2018/19 


“Mothers’ Nature: Feminism, Environmentalism and Childbirth in the 1970s,” co-authored with Jennifer Seltz, Journal of Women’s History, in press

“Spud Johnson and A Gay Man’s Place in Taos’s Creative Arts Community,” Pacific Historical Review, February 2010

“An Artists’ Home: Gender and the Santa Fe Culture Colony Controversy,” Journal of the Southwest, Summer 2004

“Artists and Boosters,” chapter in Making of the American West: New Perspectives in American Social History, Perspectives in American Social History Series, ABC-CLIO, 2007

Roundtable Review essay on Geraldo L. Cadava. Standing on Common Ground: The Making of a Sunbelt Borderland, H-DIPLO, Diplomatic and International History Discussion Network, March 2015

“Cruising the Plazas,” review essay on The Plazas of New Mexico, Chris Wilson and Stefanos Polyzoides, eds., New Mexico Historical Review, Winter 2012-2013

Roundtable Review essay on Rachel St. John, Line in the Sand, H-DIPLO, Diplomatic and International History Discussion Network, January 2013

“Bad Guys,” Roundtable essay on the future of the Western History Association, Western Historical Quarterly, Autumn 2007

Publications in Scholarship of History Teaching and Learning

Bedford St. Martin’s Online Curriculum Module, “The Laguna Pueblo Baseball Game,” Fall 2015

“We Are Still Here,” in Targets, Aschehoug Publishing House, Oslo, Norway, 2015

“Do You Speak History?” History Matters, National Council for History Education newsletter, May 2014

“Promise not Poison: The C3 Framework for the Social Studies,” The Leader, National Social Studies Supervisors Association, March 2014

C3 Framework for the Social Studies, National Council for the Social Studies, co-author, 2013

“Choose Your Own Adventure,” OAH Magazine of History, July 2013

"What Does It Mean to Think Historically," co-authored with Thomas Andrews, Perspectives, January 2007

Re-published in extended form as: “The 5 C’s of History: Putting the Elements of Historical Thinking into Practice in Teacher Education,” in History Education 101: Past, Present and Future of Teacher Preparation, Information Age Publishing, 2007

Book Reviews

Journal of American History, Western American Literature, Pacific Historical Review, Montana, Western Historical Quarterly, Women and Social Movements Online, American Nineteenth Century History, Southwestern Historical Review, Southern California Quarterly

Conference Presentations

American Historical Association, Organization of American Historians, Western History Association, American Society for Environmental History, American Historical Association-Pacific Coast Branch, Modernist Studies Association, UW-System Women’s Studies Conference, Southwest Art History Council Conference, National Feminist Graduate Student Conference, Women of the Midwest: History and Sources Conference

Public Presentations

Mennello Museum (Orlando, FL), Pázmány Péter Catholic University (Budapest, Hungary), Saint Louis Art Museum, National Archives at St. Louis, Autry National Center, Middlebury College American Studies Lecture Series, Washington University in St. Louis, SMU-In-Taos Public Lecture Series, Missouri and Kansas Councils for History Education

Presentations in Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

“Comparing Notes: Pre-College and College Teachers Talk About the Teaching of History,” Roundtable, Organization of American Historians, April 2015

“Primary Sources Go Global,” Panel Organizer and Chair, National Council for History Education Conference, March 2015

“Add Primary Sources and Stir? Finding a Better Recipe,” Keynote Address, Joint Kansas and Missouri for History Education Conference, September 2014

“Touring Forest Park by Bicycle: Lessons in Environmental History,” Library of Congress American West and Teaching with Primary Sources Project, University of Notre Dame, April 2013 and Western History Association October 2013

“The Next Big Thing,” Gilder Lehrman Special Session on K-12 History Teaching, American Historical Association Annual Meeting, January 2013

“The 5 C’s of Historical Thinking,” Missouri Council for History Education, September 2011

“The C3 Framework and the Common Core,” Cooperating School Districts, December 2012

“The C3 Framework and the Common Core,” Presentation to Ritenour School District, May 2013

“Teaching to Transcend,” Western History Association Annual Conference, October 2009

“Bringing Environmental History into Your Classroom,” Missouri Council for History Education Annual Meeting, September 2009

Honors and Awards

  • Provost Faculty Research Leave, College of Arts and Sciences, Saint Louis University, 2015-2016
  • Fulbright Norway Roving Scholar Fellowship, J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, 2013-2014
  • Mellon Faculty Development Grant in the Humanities, College of Arts and Sciences, Saint Louis University, Summer 2009
  • Butcher Scholar, Institute of the American West and Women of the West Museum, Autry National Center, 2006-2007
  • Off-Campus Faculty Fellowship, Charles Redd Center for Western Studies, Brigham Young University, January 2006
  • Jackson Brothers Fellowship, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, January 2004
  • Harry Ransom Center Fellowship, University of Texas, Austin, June 2003
  • Bill and Rita Clements Postdoctoral Fellowship, William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies, Southern Methodist University, 2002-2003 academic year
  • Smithsonian Institution Predoctoral Fellowship, Spring 2001
  • Andrew Mellon Foundation Interpretive Seminar in the Humanities Member, Huntington Library, Summer 2000
  • W.M. Keck Foundation Fellow of the Huntington Library, Spring 2000

Teaching Awards

  • Innovative Teaching Fellowship Award, Reinert Center for Teaching Excellence, St. Louis University, 2011-2012
  • Polished Apple Teaching Award, California State University, Northridge, May 2005
  • Judge Julian Beck Instructional Improvement Grant for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, California State University, Northridge, 2004-2005

Community Work and Service

  • Investigating the Roots of Ferguson, United World College-USA Project Week Organizer, Spring 2015, Spring 2016
  • Board, Missouri Council for History Education, November 2008-Present